Bible Reading: 2 Timothy 2:1-2
Although we have looked at three pictures of the Christian pilgrim [2 Timothy 2:3-7], there are several other pictures of what a Christian is like in this same chapter of Paul’s letter to Timothy. They include pictures of a steward, a workman, a vessel and a servant. We will look more closely at these over the next four days.
A Christian is a steward of what God has given to him or her. In this case, Timothy is responsible for the truth that he has received and witnessed, and is to commit it to faithful men who will also teach others. He is to raise up new leaders.
It is important to understand the background to this exhortation by Paul. Timothy was the senior pastor at Ephesus. He had trained others to be leaders, but they had walked out of the church and deserted Timothy. Rick Renner writes, “It is a historical fact that because of Nero’s persecutions against the Church, masses of believers left the Ephesian church and returned to their old pagan temples. The fires of persecution had revealed the genuine level of these people’s commitment to Jesus. When they realised they might die for their faith, they re-evaluated their commitment and deserted the Lord, the Church, and their pastor in order to save their lives.” Timothy had been “burned” and hurt by their disloyalty, and would have felt like giving up.
Against this background, and with a shortage of leaders, Paul was telling Timothy to commit what he had witnessed and learned from him to faithful men, and to train new leaders, who will teach others.
What will this mean to Timothy? The word “commit” in Greek is a compound word ‘paratithimi’ composed of the words ‘para’ [to come alongside, to be near or close by] and ‘tithimi’ [to place, to lay something down]. The two words together mean “to come close in order to make some type of deposit.” Timothy needs to quit focussing on how others have hurt him and have let him down, and get alongside and close to people who are proven to be faithful and competent, and deposit into them everything he is and everything he knows. Some years ago I heard someone say that every Christian should have a Paul who is a mentor, and a Timothy who they are mentoring.
Have you been hurt by people in the church that you tried to help, and instead of feeling successful and fulfilled, you felt let down and disappointed by them? How did you deal with this sense of disappointment?
Why do you think Paul told Timothy to commit what he had learned and witnessed to faithful men who are competent to teach others?
It is not just pastors or leaders who should be getting close to other Christians and imparting strength and understanding to them. Who are you mentoring?